Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shopatron Releases Vers. 3.0

Since 58% of shoppers researching a product start the process at the manufacturer's Website, according to Forrester Research, there is a lot of opportunity for manufacturers to sell directly to interested consumers. To leverage this advantage, Shopatron, San Luis Obispo, CA, has announced version 3.0 of its retail-integrated eCommerce solution for branded manufacturers, distributors and multi-channel retailers.

With the Shopatron Website, manufacturers accept consumer orders online, then use Shopatron's Coex Freedom Order Exchange to send the orders to participating retailers and dealers, using geographical proximity as the primary consideration in the selection. Once an order is assigned, the fulfiller either ships the order within one business day or sets it aside for In-Store Pickup, depending on the consumer’s preference.

Retailers and dealers can review available orders online, through a secure, password-protected Website, or they can receive available orders through an automated download.

Order fulfillment appears fluid and simple to consumers. Coex Freedom seamlessly handles payment processing, payment errors, fraud management, returns, exchanges, and promotions logistics.

Shopatron works with almost 1,000 brands and 12,000 retail partners across 35 industries.See Shopatron's Website for more information.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ShopText for Mobile Promotions

ShopText is a mobile promotion response and loyalty management application available as Software as a service (SaaS) on mobile platforms to enable brands, retailers and media companies to engage consumers from any ad with a simple text message and create a new opt-in direct-to-consumer channel.

Consumers can request a coupon, rebate, free sample or enter a sweepstakes without having to go online or call a 1-800 number. ShopText integrates directly with any CRM database, fulfillment center, order management, POS or loyalty card platform. Every ShopText-enabled ad response and completion is measured in real-time so you or your agency can immediately determine media ROI.

ShopText makes any ad interactive:
  • at a fraction of the cost of a 1-800 number
  • with the accountability of web-based ads
  • with no online pre-registration, downloads or apps required
  • with the same promotion & commerce data capture you require online

ShopText works across all major U.S. mobile networks

Ebizmarts Launch Magento Extension for Sage Pay

Development company and Sage Pay partner Ebizmarts have today launched a new extension for Magento's open source ecommerce platform, supporting Sage Pay's Form, Server and Direct protocols. The payment module includes Server InFrame technology, functionality for Sage Pay's newly launched Token System and elements of the new Reporting and Admin API.

Ebizmarts is the first Sage Pay partner to offer the full range of Sage Pay's newest functionality on the Magento open source platform.

The newly released module aims to alleviate the challenges faced by eCommerce merchants enabled through a simplified integration process. With a single configuration form, merchants can select multiple functionalities, creating a 'tailor-made' integration suited to their individual needs. eCommerce merchants are able to use Sage Pay's InFrame technology to enable the full customization of their payment pages and provide a seamless checkout experience while maintaining a high level of security.

With Ebizmarts latest module, merchants are able to make use of Sage Pay's Token System, whereby credit card details are converted into tokens or a card 'alias', by Sage Pay. The tokens are then safely stored by the merchant and used as necessary, lowering the level of PCI DSS compliance that the merchant is required to achieve. The technology can also be used to drive customer loyalty by creating a smooth and quick checkout process, without the customer having to re-enter card details each time they return to the site. It also fully supports 3D Secure (Verified by Visa and Secure code by MasterCard) and CV2 re-entry process.

Sage Pay's Channel Manager John Fitchett says of the new module "This is a perfect example of how Sage Pay's partners are using all of Sage Pay's API's to drive innovation in payments as well as revenue and security for their customers. We're delighted to have Ebizmarts at the forefront of our Partner programme".

Click HERE for more details.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

StoreNet Live Ship-from Store Solution

VendorNet Inc., a provider of cross-channel fulfillment technology, has announced international footwear designer and retailer Stuart Weitzman will launch VendorNet's StoreNet Ship-from Store software to integrate its store inventory for eCommerce sales and fulfillment to save sales on the Web and in stores.

"The ability to leverage our network of store inventory to augment the online experience provides significant added value to our customers," said Phil Kodroff, Vice President, Distribution and MIS at Stuart Weitzman. "We will minimize out-of stocks, and satisfy customer demand at their desired point-of-purchase, which is a key factor in delivering an enriched experience for today's cross-channel shoppers. The nature of our products implies a relatively high average order size, so out-of-stocks due to imperfect inventory allocations by location can have a significant impact on bottom-line sales. By exposing enterprise-wide inventory online and in all stores, StoreNet will enable us to capture revenue that would have been lost."

Stuart Weitzman's U.S.-based stores will be live with StoreNet in May.

StoreNet's ability to integrate with a retailer's existing retail systems infrastructure allows for rapid deployment. Likewise, a simple store interface minimizes the impact of in-store fulfillment. "We have been considering developing homegrown, StoreNet-like capabilities for some time, but tabled that idea when we discovered VendorNet. Aside from technology considerations, we also examined other business obstacles such as training store personnel. That is not an obstacle with StoreNet. It provides an extremely easy to use, step-by-step process to pick, pack, and ship an order." stated Kodroff.

"We are pleased to partner with Stuart Weitzman to integrate its eCommerce and store channels to expand its connection to its customers," says Sharon Gardner, President at VendorNet. "Stuart Weitzman is known worldwide for its unique and beautiful designs. StoreNet Ship-from Store will increase availability of its alluring products both online and in the store to ensure it captivates its clients wherever they shop."

How It Works
StoreNet routes eCommerce orders to stores when the direct-to-consumer warehouse is out-of-stock. Through StoreNet's order allocation engine, an order is dynamically routed to the best store suited for fulfillment based on business intelligence, such as the sell-through rate at the item level by store, and a variety of other retailer-defined business rules.
Store associates access orders through an intuitive Web-based/mobile interface that guides store associates through the fulfillment process, including automated pick lists, packing slips, shipping labels, and carrier manifests.

Mobile Payment Consortia

SiliconAngle reports that Paydiant, a Boston-based mobile payments start-up, has raised $7.6 million in a first round of funding led by North Bridge Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners. The financing will be used to expand product development, sales and marketing.

Paydiant was co-founded by Chris Gardner, Kevin Laracey and Joe Paratore, all having previously collaborated in the e-billing, payments and mobile space. 

The mobile payment market is a very competitive one, with service providers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all getting involved. Techie Insider mentions that Isis, the mobile giants' new joint mobile payment venture, has already recruited several US merchants, giving it a head start over Paydiant as well as backing from the largest players in mobile.

Moreover, Visa, Deutsche Telekom AG, France Telecom SA and other mobile operators have partnered with Google to launch near- field communication (NFC) payment systems in the near future, according to Bloomberg, which will let people buy in suitably equipped retail locations with a swipe of their smartphone. "NFC may be the last chance for operators to avoid being simple conduits of other companies’ electronic commerce." Notes Bloomberg: “'Google’s massive, but Google does not have a billing relationship with 99 percent of its customers,' Deutsche Telekom Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Ed Kozel said in an interview last week. 'That’s our opportunity.'

"The stakes for losing out on this business development are huge, with NFC payments -- which could potentially replace many cash registers and credit cards -- likely to account for a third of the $1.13 trillion global market in mobile transactions by 2014, according to IE Market Research."

According to Bloomberg, Deutsche Telekom may buy a payment-processing company for its NFC project or partner with a financial institution. France Telecom, along with other French mobile operators, began an NFC experiment in May in Nice. CEO Stephane Richard said  the Paris-based company is offering new SIM cards for contactless mobile services and expects to have 500,000 clients this year.

"For Google, whose Android operating system is activated by about 300,000 new users a day, mobile payments are a 'mega- scale' opportunity, CEO Eric Schmidt said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 15."

Bloomberg also notes that "Apple recently hired Benjamin Vigier, an NFC expert, from mobile-payments startup mFoundry, sparking speculation the iPhone maker also has NFC plans. Apple already has an extensive billing system through its iTunes entertainment and apps portal. Still, Apple’s preference for proprietary systems may be a hurdle, said Deutsche Telekom’s Kozel."

Regarding ISIS, Bloombert points out that "The system will be made available to all banks and merchants with help from Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc -- posing a possible threat to parallel efforts by Visa and Mastercard Inc."

Mobile is Much More Than Another "Form Factor"

"Mobile is going to leapfrog other technologies," says Evan Schuman of StoreFrontBackTalk. Treating mobile as "just another form factor" is "dangerous and ill-advised," warns Schuman, "like a retail CIO in the mid-1990s thinking that the Web was just the next-generation of GEnie, Prodigy and Compuserve." Click HERE to read Evan's important editorial.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Demandware Users: 31% Growth in Holiday Sales

Demandware, reported its clients achieved 31% growth in holiday sales over last year -- a significant increase over the 12% average holiday sales reported by comScore. In January, they were already achieving 32% higher revenue growth over the same time last year, while average retail sales fell in January. Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Non-US Merchants With Chip-and-Pin Terminals Get PCI Exemption

VISA has announced an extraordinary policy that will relieve merchants outside the U.S. of the requirement to validate compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) if they process at least three-quarters of their VISA transactions from chip-enabled terminals.

The new PCI policy, intended as in incentive to speed up deployment of so-called Europay-MasterCard-VISA (EMV) chip-and-PIN system, represents the first time a major card network has offered to exempt merchants from the full PCI validation requirement since the data security standard was introduced six years ago.

Many regions of the world, including Canada, have rolled out or are starting to rollout EMV, which ultimately replaces magnetic stripes with chips embedded in credit cards that store and protect cardholder credentials. In conjunction with the chips is data authentication is a security technology that VISA has been heavily promoting which lets the chip transmit back to the issuer a cryptographic message that authenticates the card as genuine. The message changes with each transaction, so it is useless if intercepted.

The Technology Innovation Program is intended to give merchants an incentive to install and use EMV by relieving them of the costs and burdens of PCI-compliance validation, says VISA. To qualify for the program, a merchant must have installed and enabled chip-reading terminals. The terminal has to be enabled, it can’t just be capable, and the merchant must also have previously validated its PCI compliance or have submitted a plan to do so, not have sustained a data breach recently, not store card data; and compwith PCI, even if it no longer has to prove that compliance.

VISA is excluding the U.S. market from the Technology Innovation Program, citing uncertainties created by the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act. That law, along with implementing rules proposed by the Federal Reserve, will drastically cut the debit card interchange income flowing to issuers. While the amendment makes allowances for issuers’ fraud-fighting expenses, how costs for EMV and other such technologies might ultimately be incorporated into the Fed’s rules remains unclear. The Fed released its proposal in December and is expected to issue final rules by April 21.

While VISA specifies that the exemption is from documenting a merchant's PCI compliance, not from achieving it, this incentive program still raises questions about using the compliance procedures as a kind of bargaining chip. A large part of the "burden" of PCI compliance is in the testing and record-keeping needed to prove that effective and mandated procedures have been implemented. With no requirement to have these  proven by a Qualified Security Assessor or a properly trained in-house employee, PCI is essentially enforced on "the honor system," which is currently only applicable to the very smallest merchants, not those of any significant size. Moreoever, allowing merchants to sidestep the "hard part" of an industry standard in exchange for the adoption of the processor's technology seems like a "gaming" of the system that compromises the legitimacy of the entire transaction security standards program. If it's illegitimate for merchants to cut corners, why should it be OK for VISA to bribe some merchants into doing so?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mandates and Chellenges for Mobile Retail

During his keynote at last fall, Urban Outfitters CEO Glen Senk said that "Mobile may ultimately impact the in-store experience more than it impacts the online experience.... We believe mobile technology will boost eCommerce, but I believe it will absolutely revolutionize the brick-and-mortar retail business," reports 1To1 Magazine.

The online magazine also quotes Josh Herman, multichannel marketing innovation leader at Acxiom, that "I think what we'll see this year is a focus on getting the mobile marketing infrastructure more closely tied to the rest of the marketing intelligence assets. This will help fortify spending in mobile marketing."

Carsten Thoma, President of Hybris U.S. and COO of Hybris Group, also sees mobile technology as vital to retailers, but cautions that many companies are uncertain how to get started, adding that companies are often saddled with legacy systems that make the integration of mobile technology difficult if not impossible. Concludes Thoma, the "complete fusion of offline and online in a seamless environment is the most important thing in 2012. I'm 100 percent sure that customers are expecting this experience."

Dave Lawson, Director of Mobile Engagement at Knotice, concurs, seeing 2011 as the year companies get more sophisticated with mobile, but concluding it won't be until 2012 that the technology will finally evolve to point where seamless execution becomes a reality.

D.M.Insite Now Kalio, part of Moyo Group

eCommerce software firm D.M.insite today announced that it was merging with IT services firm Moyo Group and changing its name to Kalio™ ( in a move that unites two long‐time partners and which they expect will gives users greater flexibility and choice for their eCommerce solutions.

The announcement was made at the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability 2011 Conference in Orlando.

Kalio’s implementation, hosting, and sales capabilities will double, helping meet the growing demand for Kalio products. The existing D.M.insite line of Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce products will be retained and expanded under the new Kalio name, and the company’s solution will now be branded KalioCommerce™.

“This merger allows Kalio to extend its reach and gives customers an even more robust product offering,” said D.M.insite founder and chief executive officer Larry Kavanagh, who will become CEO of the new merged company. “This gives customers the best of bothworlds—a world‐class software platform and a world‐class IT support system on which to operate.

“KalioCommerce has been extremely well‐received in the marketplace to the point where we really needed to very quickly ramp up our ability to deliver. Kalio will represent not just the positive legacy of D.M.insite but also the expanded service offering of the Moyo Group. The new company name and brand reflect our growing breadth and sophistication.”

Terms of the merger were not disclosed. The new company will be headquartered in Cupertino, CA, and will retain its customer support, site deployment and sales offices and facilities in greater Cincinnati.

“We’ve been part of the Kalio solution for a long time, so a merger made a lot of sense,” said Moyo Group CEO Mark Richards, who will remain with Kalio as President of the Infrastructure Services Group. “This is an opportunity to participate more deeply in Kalio’s dynamic vision and growth, and we are pleased to contribute our decades of experience in managing secure SaaS data centers and implementing sophisticated software systems.”

Moyo Group was founded in 2002 by IT industry veterans in Silicon Valley to provide outsourced IT skills to growing companies. Moyo Group has recently built a practice around deploying Kalio products for retailers who needed more flexibility than other eCommerce platforms provided. Moyo Group also provides IT project management, hosting, and integration services, and has provided Kalio’s hosting infrastructure for several years.

Founded in 1999 as D.M.insite, Kalio, in the eCommerce world the company has been known for its experience in the direct marketing, retail, and mail order catalog fields and for giving online retailers a significant competitive edge. The company’s eCommerce application typically increases Web sales by 50 to 100 percent during the first year, according to Kalio.

For more information, contact Brad Curtis at (415) 306‐2110 or

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ECMOD Rebrands

As far as I know, there was no formal announcement or press release (I could be wrong...), but ECMOD, formerly "European Catalogue and Mail Order Days," the venerable direct commerce show that has been going strong for nearly two decades, has very cleverly rebranded itself as "Every Channel: Mastered, Optimised, Delivered."

And a good thing, too. It never was much of a "European" show, to begin with, although there was a sprinkling of participants and exhibitors from the Continent. And the "Catalogue and Mail Order" label was no longer a compelling draw. Besides, the show has been quite multichannel for the last few years.

So congratulations to Jane Revell-Higgens and her crackerjack team of hardworking associates for repositioning the conference so brilliantly, and good luck to the show in its brand new venue this year at The Business Design Centre in Islington on 30th November – 1st December, one of London's most stylish conference and exhibition locations with a barrel-vaulted roof offering natural light to the Exhibition Hall. I'm looking forward to being there and participating with the "old gang" and the newbies who always add a dash of spice to the dish.

Some might wonder about the timing of the show, since it's a busy holiday season for most multichannel merchants. But if you think about it, anyone considering new marketing methods, strategies or systems really can't wait until the first quarter of the new year if they want to do it right. They have to start planning before then, so that their project can get going in high gear as soon as the new year launches. In its own way, the timing is perfect.

Mobile Retail Masterclass

The Mobile Retail Masterclass, March 15 in London, organized by Mobile Marketing magazine and mobile events firm Camerjam, will offer executives from the retail industry the opportunity to learn about mobile, connect with leading experts, and develop mobile strategies, all during the course of the morning event.

Specialist solution providers will explain how to build a mobile website or mobile-optimised version of an existing website; create mobile apps; use mobile coupons and advertising, including location-based advertising, to drive footfall; and how to take mobile payments.

Each system vendor will present an overview of their area of expertise before moving ro a round-table format where attendees will have an opportunity to ask each specialist more detailed questions. The event is free for retailers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Do Not Track Bill to Be Introduced Feb. 11

Multichannel News reports that Rep. Jackie Speier (D.-Calif.) plans to introduce her bill on Friday that would allow online consumers to prevent marketers from tracking their online movements.Called "The Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011," the bill is backed by the Consumer Federation of America, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumers Union and others.

Multichannel News also notes that Rep. Bobby Rush (R-Ill.) is introducing an online privacy bill this week, as well. And the Executive branch is getting into the act with The Federal Trade Commission and Commerce Department both preparing reports on what the government should do to protect citizens online.

For my lengthy comments on this subject, see Do Not Track: A Golden Opportunity?

PCI Security Standards Council "Delists" Mobile Payments

The folloowing is the text of the PCI Security Standards Council addendum to statement on PA-DSS and mobile payment applications:

January 25, 2011
The following is an addendum to the PCI Security Standards Council statement on PA-DSS and mobile payment applications released on November 29th 2010.

Due to the evolving nature of the payment application landscape, new categories of applications emerge that necessitate regular review of PCI SSC criteria and processes for examining the security of these applications. While the Council’s initial statement regarding mobile payment applications and the PA-DSS (November 29th 2010) noted that “no mobile payment applications used by merchants to accept or process payment for goods and services would be approved or listed as validated PA-DSS applications unless all requirements can be satisfied as stated,” this category of payment applications remains under review, and the Council is able to provide the following additional detail:

“Until it has completed a comprehensive examination of the mobile communications device and mobile payment application landscape, the Council will not approve or list mobile payment applications used by merchants to accept and process payment for goods and services as validated PA-DSS applications unless all PA-DSS requirements can be satisfied as stated and the underlying mobile communications device supports the merchant's PCI DSS compliance.”

Again, the Council encourages merchants to refer to the PCI SSC website for a current list of PA-DSS validated applications and reminds organizations that the use of a PA-DSS compliant application alone does not make an entity PCI DSS compliant. The application must also be configured in accordance with the vendor’s PA-DSS Implementation Guide and installed into a PCI DSS compliant environment.

The big news here is that the SSC is delisting those mobile apps that it had previously certified as compliant. This obviously upsets the PCI apple cart for any merchant who is using these apps for its mCommerce initiatives. For a good discussion of this, see PCI Mobile Madness: Council Clarifications Not Helping by Evan Schuman on the StoreFrontBackTalk site.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The SmartPhone Wallet

Direct merchants may tend to see Mobile Commerce, or mCommerce, as primarily an extension of eCommerce on SmartPhones, via apps or SmartPhone browsers (see for instance M&S Wins Big With mCommerce).

But that's just one "side of the moon." On the other side (the dark side for those who don't use it), there is the much, much larger aspect to Mobile Commerce in which the SmartPhone is used as a payment device, either in lieu of credit cards or in conjunction with them, and primarily in person at retail stores, where "Near Field Communication," or NFC (which only works when sender and receiver are inches away) transmits the customer's data to the POS terminal for payment processing (although phone-to-computer or phone-to-phone transactions are also supported).

This is an inherently secure method of payment, if handled properly. And it is the tip of a very large iceberg (apologies for mixing "moon" and "iceberg" metaphors!) that quickly gets very technical because of the intrinsic complexities of the payment processing world.

A number of experts in the transaction management field have tackled this subject, but none more concisely and succinctly than David Schropfer, a founding partner in The Luciano Group, a global telecomms consulting organization. In the first book in his "SmartPhone Wallet" series, subtitled "Understanding the Disruption Ahead," Schropfer clearly and lucidly explains the stakes in the coming revolution in retail transactions in which your SmartPhone will not only take the place of your credit cards but can in fact eliminate much of the "overhead’ in the current payment management process.

Consumers and merchants alike can benefit significantly from SmartPhone transactions, as will less-developed economies where ‘disintermediation’ will not only improve profitability but also help to side-step endemic corruption, which Schropfer correctly points out.

But for any of this to become a full-blown reality all players will have to adhere to sensible standards, which are currently in the embryonic stage (see my blog post on one player addressing this: ISIS: Mobile Payment Standards/Security). Schropfer's discussion of the standards issue is one of his "hot buttons," as well it should be. As he indicates, the future of this fast-emerging field may depend significantly on whether the standards that emerge for the management of SmartPhone transactions make sense to all stake-holders: consumers, merchants, transaction processors, and banks (the card brand kingpins, V/MC/Amex/Discover, are also relevant, but as Schropfer indicates, may end up drawing the short straw -- depending on how this field evolves).

Schropfer’s coverage of these subjects is thorough and illuminating, providing a clear and concise overview of all relevant topics, and should be the perfect introduction to the next book in the series: The SmartPhone Wallet – A Consumer Guide to the Services of Today and Tomorrow," which will cover this important subject in even greater detail. The current volume is available for purchase at Amazon for the bargain price of just $14.95.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Red Prairie Acquires Escalate Retail

In what may be one of the biggest stories in recent memory for the multichannel systems world, RedPrairie Corporation, a productivity solutions provider, best known in this "space" for its Warehouse Management System (WMS), has announced it has finalized the acquisition of Escalate Retail, a leading provider of all-channel commerce to specialty retailers, direct marketers and big-ticket retailers.

The acquisition combines Escalate’s multichannel order management capabilities and RedPrairie’s supply chain management functionality to create a combination of solutions that can integrate and optimize the customer experience, from search to sale to delivery.

Escalate’s solutions are used by more than 400 brands in the retail vertical, including St. John Knits, The Buckle, Hot Topic, Coldwater Creek, EILEEN FISHER, and The Louvre.

“With this acquisition, RedPrairie will be ideally positioned to manage both supply chain and retail activities, from the time a customer first makes contact with the retailer—no matter the channel, touch point, or device—all the way through to fulfillment,” says RedPrairie CEO Mike Mayoras. “Additionally, we have enhanced our ability to leverage our Workforce and Inventory Management solutions to help retailers optimize inventory and fulfillment processes regardless of where the order is in the supply chain.”

“The consumer has evolved,” says Escalate Retail CEL Stewart Bloom. “More than ever, consumers are using a number of different channels to interact with retailers outside of the store from online and mobile devices, to call centers and social media among others. Our merging with RedPrairie results in unparalleled capabilities to optimize the customer experience, from search to sale to delivery.”

About Escalate Retail
Escalate Retail is a major provider of retail solutions that drive cross-channel sales and marketing and related shopping experiences on the Web, in the store, on a mobile device, and over the phone. Escalate’s All-Channel Commerce delivers revenue-driving interactions in every channel through a portfolio of solutions, including eCommerce, mCommerce, Store Kiosks, Pocket Kiosks, Relationship Marketing, Clienteling, and Order Management. More than 500 retailers run their businesses on Escalate software, including 11 of the largest 100 retailers worldwide, over 50 of the Internet Retailer top 500 eCommerce sites and 14 of STORES Magazine’s “Hot 100.” The company maintains headquarters in San Diego, CA with three additional offices located across North America and Europe.

About RedPrairie
RedPrairie delivers productivity solutions to help companies around the world in three categories – workforce, inventory and transportation. RedPrairie provides these solutions to manufacturers, distributors and retailers looking to support business strategies that increase revenue, reduce costs and create competitive advantage. With over 20 global offices and solutions that are installed at more than 34,000 customer sites in over 40 countries, companies turn to RedPrairie for workforce, inventory and transportation solutions to deliver an increase in productivity, with the flexibility to adapt as business needs change.

Retail TouchPoints reports that "In January, RedPrairie announced the acquisition of SofTechnics and Shippers Commonwealth, a SaaS transportation management systems provider.

"Earlier in 2010 RedPrairie was acquired by New Mountain Partners, a private equity fund sponsored by New Mountain Capital. To date, New Mountain has fulfilled its promise to facilitate RedPrairie’s growth. 'We intend to work closely with RedPrairie’s management team and help them accelerate their growth and strategic development…,' noted Alok Singh, Managing Director of New Mountain, in a March 24, 2010 statement.

“'If we use the acquisition of New Mountain as a starting point, it did provide additional focus on growth for RedPrairie,' noted Tom Kozenski, Vice President of Product Strategy, RedPrairie, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. 'In conjunction with that, we have been looking at a number of acquisitions. Of course, acquisitions such as Escalate didn’t happen overnight. We have been playing out the business value of this type of acquisition over a period of time.'

"Regarding Escalate, Kozenski said: 'We are very excited in the potential of how it builds out our existing platform. Combined with the current RedPrairie platform of inventory optimization from a supply chain standpoint as well as customer experience in store, we are now prepared to extend the customer experience to the omni-channel. With the tools through Escalate, we will be able to capture the customer order from any channel, provide an excellent and consistent customer experience across all touch points, and ultimately fulfill the order exactly the way the customer wants it.'

See more of the Retail TouchPoints coverage here.

I spoke with Brian Johnson, Vice President, General Manager, Direct Commerce Industry at Escalate, who indicated that for the foreseeable future there will be no changes in Escalate personnel. All teams will remain in place and the company structure will stay the same. As far as the user base is concerned, there should be no change in support or interruption of on-going projects. And in my opinion, there is every reason to believe there might be more resources available now for accelerated development.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

ISIS: Mobile Payment Standards/Security

Verizon, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile USA teamed up in mid-November to launch Isis as a standards-based mobile payments network. Since then, however, the company has been relatively quiet about its plans for 2011. Recently, FierceWireless Editor Phil Goldstein spoke with Isis CEO Michael Abbot, who noted that: "if you're going to make payments work in the United States on a mobile phone, you're going to need a lot of players to come alive in the ecosystem to make that happen--everything from the merchants to the OEMs to the phone manufacturers. You have got to make sure that everybody comes together with a common standard and common protocol. And the point of why we made the announcement about Isis before we were out there marketing it is to let all of the ecosystem players know, here is the place you can come to talk about the open standards we're developing, what we'd expect people to adopt and that we're bringing the wherewithal of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon and the 200 million subscribers they have and the 100 million who re-up their phones every year. We're bringing that to bear to the ecosystem so you can make that investment and ensure that it is going to have something on the other side of it."

Read the entire interview here to see how ISIS is working to support merchants, mobile companies, banks, and consumers as "a supplier and an enabler of the ecosystem" for mobile payments, supporting standards and security, and their ability to support a spectrum of loyalty programs, as well.
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